Jason Terry, who scored 18 points, drilled a crucial three-pointer in the final minute to help secure Dallas’ third win in four games. The Mavericks also picked up their 50th win, reaching that mark for the 11th consecutive season.
However, Dallas rallied in the final minutes to send Minnesota to its fifth consecutive loss.
“It wasn’t pretty tonight, we were a little rusty there in the first half,” Nowitzki said. “We missed a lot of shots, wide open shots actually, and in the second half we really had to fight for it. Give Minnesota credit, they really made us work, they made shots down the stretch and they really made us reach deep.”
Martell Webster and Wayne Ellington had hit back-to-back buckets to give the Timberwolves a 94-93 edge with 3:17 left in regulation. But Dallas moved in front on its next possession, when Tyson Chandler got two offensive rebounds before sinking a put-back layup as he was fouled.
Chandler made the free throw, and after Jonny Flynn missed a layup, Nowitzki drove for a basket and a 98-94 lead. Flynn’s layup with 1:17 to go had Minnesota within two, but Terry drained the timely three for a 101-96 advantage.
Shawn Marion stole a bad pass to ruin the Timberwolves’ next touch, and Dallas secured the victory with free throws.
“They’re a veteran team that’s getting in gear for the playoffs, so they know how to finish off games,” Randolph said. “Us being in a close game like this helps us for the future, when we continue to get better.”
Marion finished with 17 points, while Chandler had 10 rebounds and nine points.
Minnesota built a 23-17 advantage after holding Dallas to eight field goals and no free throws in the first quarter.
But the Mavericks’ offense came to life in the second, when they drained 13- of-19 shots. Randolph poured in 17 points in the quarter, but didn’t get much help as Dallas moved in front, 49-47, at the break.
The Mavericks led by as many as eight in the third quarter and carried a 76-72 edge into the fourth.
There were 10 ties and nine lead changes…The teams combined to score 54 points off 34 turnovers…Peja Stojakovic scored 16 points off Dallas’ bench…Flynn had 13 points for Minnesota.